She has worked in SaaS and tech for ten years and is now at the third company in the same industry, Mynewsdesk. In CMO Insights, Lotta Laurin talks about how she believes the role of marketing manager will evolve going forward, how digitization has affected the marketing game plan and why leadership training is essential but not everything for a CMO.
Of her ten years as a marketing manager at SaaS companies, she was at Salesforce for five years and the adtech company Bannerflow for one year. She is now in her fourth year as CMO at Mynewsdesk – a market-leading platform for corporate PR and communication. Previously, Lotta worked at more traditional companies where the focus areas and challenges were completely different. Lotta sees her journey in SaaS as a "second career".
– Before jumping into the SaaS niche, I worked at more traditional companies. For example, I have been a product manager at Postnord, CEO at Swedma and management consultant at Accenture. A lovely mix. It has become like two different career paths during my professional life. But it is B2B and SaaS that I am passionate about. Working with products aimed specifically at marketers has become my niche.
As CMO, Lotta has only worked with B2B, and this is where she has most of her skills. According to Lotta, today's marketing managers need to be multitaskers with both a breadth and specialist knowledge in marketing. She also mentions that you must be a good leader and also be able to contribute to the company's overall development. We talk a little about how she thinks the role of CMO will evolve:
– There is a big difference between working in the company's top management team and not. If you are part of the management team, you have a broader business responsibility, which is marketing (the C). Your role is to contribute to the company's overall development, as well as to set long-term strategies together with other managers.
– As CMO and marketing manager, you need to be able to take the company's vision and break it down into marketing strategy and marketing plan together with your entire marketing team.
– You must also have good leadership skills and a passion for working with people. In addition, it is crucial to have a broad knowledge base and experience from various roles. Being an influential CMO is hard if you're only passionate about one part of the marketing discipline, such as branding, lead generation, or PR & communications. To understand and own the whole, you must be interested in building a brand and generating leads. It is also essential to know what you are good at and are not good at to create a balanced whole and supplement the team with the right skills.
– Right now, I am learning more about both the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) role and the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) role. Sales, marketing and customer success need to work closely together, and it will be easier to collaborate if I, as CMO, understand the responsibilities, challenges and best practices in sales and customer success. I become a better CMO if I know how a CRO or CCO works. It is also something that will be expected going forward.
“I feel that paid channels perform worse now than before”
The year 2023 has already been strongly influenced by AI. With the entry of ChatGPT, Lotta believes that roles in PR, marketing and communication will change, where much of the more straightforward time-consuming administrative work will be able to be performed by AI. She also believes that we will work with paid advertising differently. She elaborates:
– I feel that paid channels perform worse (and have become more expensive) now than before. With the pandemic, "everyone" became digital, and reaching out to your target groups became even more difficult. This will mean that there will be more space for more deserved media going forward and a greater focus on PR & communication. For example, our latest report, State of Nordic PR & Communication, shows that most marketers will focus on fewer formats and platforms in the future. As well as a focus on quality rather than quantity. I can only agree!
– ChatGPT and AI are here to stay, and they will change how we work and what we do at work, both in marketing and other departments. I understand there are thoughts like, "will I lose my job"? However, we will not see that, but AI will help us work smarter and more efficiently.
Lotta says that one of her worst leadership qualities is her ability to say no. She likes to say yes to new, good ideas, sometimes too many. Sometimes, however, a spontaneous yes can be one of the best investments of the year:
– Last year we decided to create a brand campaign with only internal creators. It was extra fun because we dared to invest internal resources and time in a branding campaign when many other companies focused on lead generation instead. The campaign created a great deal of pride within Mynewsdesk, and what's more, the campaign was stylish, really good and successful.
One will never be fully learned
Finally, Lotta gives some tips and advice to other CMOs out there.
– You have to constantly further your education because so much new stuff is happening all the time. I'm in a network called Pavilion, and it's almost exclusively made up of people who work in SaaS. In that membership, you can participate in most training courses. It is high and low. It can be about wanting to expand, as I am doing now with CRO School, or going down in depth. The important thing is that it is something you are interested in. Leadership training, in all its glory, is essential, but you need to hone your skills in other disciplines and think deeply and broadly.
She finishes with a final pass.
– Make CMO friends. I have done that, and I can ask them anything. How do you do this? How do you measure this? And so on. It's something that I can recommend everyone who works in marketing to do, well or everyone, not only if you work with market issues.